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Feb 25

Learning to Home Brew, Part 2

After a week in the ole fermenter, my home-brew is now ready to be bottled.  This step is crucial in the home-brew process. During this step, the beer gets primed (sugar is added to allow carbonation).  After this step, I’ll begin the waiting game.

I kept my fermenter in my basement under a blanket to prevent unnecessary light from affecting the fermentation process.  The beer kit recommended a fermentation temperature of 21-27 degrees Celsius (70-80 degrees Fahrenheit) in order to avoid a overly gassy brew.  Fermentation can be sped up by keeping the temperature towards the ceiling of that range.  My temperature was somewhere in the middle, so I waited out my full week before bottling.

One of the fancier bells and whistles of my Coopers kit was the hydrometer.  I had not used one of these in my previous batches of beer and was excited to try it out.  I had a Final Gravity of 1.010.  For the home-brewing math geek, the formula to find the Alcohol By Volume of your beer is Original Gravity (hydrometer measurement of the wort before the yeast is added) minus Final Gravity (hydrometer reading after a week of fermentation) divided by 7.46 plus .5.  So my beer is somewhere around 4.7% ABV.

Cheers to your good health!

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 8:41 am in Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (7)
Feb 24

Look what’s coming to the Dilly Cafe

I got the Dilly Cafe newsletter yesterday and was happy to see two fantastic events coming soon.

The first is a unique chance to meet and greet with two French female winemakers. Next Monday, 2/28, from 6:30-8:30 pm. Dilly is charging $25 per person for this event. Reservations aren’t required but are highly recommended. Just call 513.561.5233.

Come meet and taste the wines of Catherine Champalou, of  Domaine Champalou in the Vouvray appellation of the Loire Valley;  as well as Christine Campadieu of  Domaine La Tour Vieille , from Collioure in the far-most southwest corner of France’s Mediterranean coast!

Ms. Champalou’s estate specializes in 100% Chenin Blanc wines, the full range from dry to semi-sweet to sparkling.  Ms. Campadieu makes dry, rich Grenache cuvées in the sunny southern French tradition, as well as an intense late-harvest Banyuls from the neighboring AOC.  We’ll be tasting seven wines in all, and they will be available ($20-40) to be purchased, signed, and taken home!

Next up, Dilly has the Graziano Winemaker Brunch on Wine Festival Sunday (or Hangover Sunday – whatever you might be feeling …). This brunch has become a bit of a tradition. I attended it when it was at the now-defunct Oceanaire. The brunch is Sunday, 3/13 at 11 am (you can do it – it’s not that early) and is $40. This event does require reservations, so call 513.561.5233. Kevin & I will be in Los Angeles, or we would definitely be attending. 

We are very pleased to continue an (un)official Cincinnati Wine Festival tradition – the Sunday Winemaker Brunch!  Put a capstone on your Wine Festival weekend by joining us to welcome our very special host, Gregory Graziano, for a special five course, six wine brunch on Sunday March 13th at 11am.

Greg is a huge supporter of the Cincinnati Wine Festival.  He takes time off from his – not one, but  four! – Mendocino County wine projects to visit us here.  There are the St. Gregory wines, which specialize in Burgundian varietals; the Monte Volpe and Enotria labels which feature the Tuscan and Piedmontese (respectively) grapes so close to Greg’s heart and family history; and lastly the eponymous Graziano Vineyards label, which features the most “Californian” personality of the bunch, as Zinfandel is about as Californian as it gets!  You can find out more about the Graziano family of wines here.

Chef Eric Vice and Sous Chef Phil Kurtz have collaborated with Chef Thom Milliken of The Polo Grill on a delicious menu to pair with Greg’s wines.

So make sure you get yourself to Dilly if not on one, but on both of these fun occasions!

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 8:39 am in Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (10)
Feb 15

Learning to Home Brew

One of the best holiday presents I have received in the past few years has been a homebrew kit.  This has allowed me to combine my love of beer with me learning my way around the kitchen.  By the time I had my own kit, I had already made three batches of beer with my college roommate (not on campus, don’t worry), so I felt pretty seasoned and ready to take on brewing by myself.

The kit that I have is from an Australian outfit called Coopers.  The rad thing about the kit (aside from the hilarious Australian instructional video) is that it comes with some of the bells and whistles that I did not have before like a hydrometer and a sticker thermometer.  Being from Australia, all the temperatures are in Celsius, so I may look into a Fahrenheit one as well.  But if you can deal with some metric conversions, this is a solid kit to have.

My favorite thing about this kit is how easy it is to use.  Everything is streamlined and simplified from the instructions to the malty goodness in the can.  With that in mind, this kit is perfect for beginning brewers who are just looking to try it out.  However, one of the best parts about homebrewing is tampering with recipes and trying new ideas.  I would recommend a gift certificate to Listermann Brewing Company for an intermediate or advanced home brewer in the Greater Cincinnati Area.

The first part of the process from the kit is the mix.  Mixing beer is very similar to baking or cooking.  You have ingredients, temperatures, and methods to mix them all together.  The kit makes this process super easy by premixing your hops and malt.  You essentially boil some water then dump it in the fermenter, add in the can of malt and hops, add in the pre-measured amount of sugar, stir, add more water, wait until the fermenter reaches a certain temperature, throw in the yeast, jam in the air lock, and seal it up.  It is that easy.

The hardest part about this whole process may be the waiting involved!  Soon, I’ll complete the second and third steps in the process, brewing and bottling.

Cheers to your good health!

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 5:39 pm in Beer, Beer-Guy.net | Permalink | Comments (11)
Feb 14

Wine After Your Heart: Ehler Estate 1886 (review)

Believe it or not, in St Helena in the heart of Napa Valley, is a small winery that donates all of its profits to charity. Ehlers Estate, which has existed in one form or another since 1886, is now owned by the Leducq Foundation. The Leducq Foundation was established by the winery owners to promote cardiovascular research. You’ll notice that the logo includes a heart within the “E”.

2005 Ehlers Estate “1886” Cabernet Sauvignon, ~$95

On the nose, this rich garnet wine has plums and black cherries. The scent wafted over to me from halfway across the room.

On the palate, there are those black cherries again, as well as plums, dates, and even figs. It’s a rich wine, and would go great with a big, juicy steak. The wine had a small amount of tannins and a nice long finish.

I think it was still just a bit young. We ran it through a Vinturi aerator for the second glass. It actually brought out more tannins in the wine. Keep in mind that this is a 14.7% AbV wine, so if you hold onto it for a few years, it’s going to age nicely.

Our review:

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This wine was sent to me as a sample from Ehlers Estate. It is close to my own heart because of the undiagnosed heart defect to which we lost my younger sister.

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 2:47 pm in Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (10)
Feb 09

Come Drink with Me for Valentine’s Wines!

I’m in town again, for a few weeks, and thought I’d celebrate by drinking pink.

I’ll be hosting a wine tasting at Water Tower Fine Wines over in Mt Washington on Friday night, 5:30 – 8:30 pm. Cost is $15 for 6 wines, although if you get there early, there’s a bonus sparkler. There’s also a premium pour for an additional cost. (The premium pour I picked out retails for around $70/btl.) Dave & Jan at Water Tower usually put out a pretty impressive spread of appetizers, included in the price.

Here are the stunning rosés we’ll be trying:

  • Early Bird Sparkler Selection: Alice Osé Brut (glera and marzemino blend – Italy)
  • Skouras Zoë (agiorgitiko and moschofilero blend – Greece)
  • Isabel Mondavi I’M (cabernet sauvignon – California)
  • Montes Cherub (syrah – Chile) previous review
  • Etude (pinot noir – California)
  • Five Star Cellars Kynzie (sangiovese – Washington)
  • Belle Glos (pinot noir – California) previous review
  • Premium Pour: Vilmart & Co Cuvée Rubis (sparkling pinot noir with a splash of chardonnay)

So bring your sweetheart – or come by to pick out a wine for your sweetheart – and drink pink with us on Friday night (and we can toast to my actually being in town!)

Water Tower Fine Wines is located just up the hill from Riverbend, right across from the Mt Washington Water Tower.

Photo by JoliSoleil via Creative Commons.

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 5:02 pm in Drink Pink! (BCRF), Local, Special Events, Tastings | Permalink | Comments (11)

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